If you want to see a political wave forming a year before an election, watch the retirements.
They’re often a leading indicator for which direction a party is headed, and so far, 2018 is shaping up ominously for Republicans. On Wednesday, the GOP watched as its ninth House committee chairman, Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, announced he would not seek another term in November. Gowdy is actually the second leader of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to call it quits in the last year; his predecessor, Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah, resigned in June. Gowdy, who previously led the House Benghazi panel investigating the 2012 terrorist attack in Libya, said in a statement he was leaving after his fourth term to return to the justice system, where he had previously served as a federal prosecutor. He’s reportedly shared an interest in becoming a federal judge.
Republicans were not alone in losing a veteran House member to retirement: Democratic Representative Bob Brady of Pennsylvania announced he would leave Congress after 20 years this fall. Brady had been under FBI investigation for a payment his campaign made to a primary opponent in 2012, and he was facing a serious primary challenger in his bid for another term.
In the last week, two other Republicans have ditched their campaigns in districts Democrats are eyeing in 2018: Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and Representative Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania.
GOP Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina and Democratic Representative Bob Brady of Pennsylvania won’t seek another term, becoming the latest members of Congress to forego reelection. Here’s a running list of all the lawmakers calling it quits.